Media, Congress Continue to Condemn Trump on Syria Policy

McConnell wants Trump rebuke to 'go beyond' Syria

Congressional hawks in both parties are predictably outraged at President Trump’s Syria strategy. Even keeping a few hundred troops in Syria explicitly to “guard the oil” is not enough to placate them.

Most mainstream outlets made their decision when Trump suggested he was getting out of the Syria War, an idea which media outlets are viewing as incomprehensible, and analysts are spinning as helping “jihadists,” Syria, Russia, and Turkey.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is insisting that Trump must not be listening to commanders, assuming that his pro-war stance would necessarily be embraced by the military brass. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) presented the policy as a betrayal of the Kurds to Russia.

Absent from all of this is the idea of a debate on the policy, with everyone insisting that the most pro-war strategy possible must necessarily be the default, and anything short of that needs to be challenged.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sought to take the lead in challenging Trump, after the House passed a resolution condemning Trump over Syria. McConnell now insists Congress needs to “go beyond” Syria. He is looking for the Senate to get out in front and condemn any drawdown in Afghanistan, even though by most indications such a drawdown is not going to be coming at all.

If anything, condemning Trump on Afghanistan doesn’t make much sense right now, since Trump already scrapped the peace process, with a deal in hand, and now seems to be set to continue the Afghan War beyond all reason, and with no apparent goals in mind. If anything that seems to be exactly what everyone else is counseling in Syria.

Trump already effectively backed down on Syria, keeping troops there for the oil, and even if that’s going to pointlessly continue the US military engagement there, the very hint of a drawdown continues to drive momentum against Trump’s policy, whatever it is at any given time.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.